Sheep graze between and under solar panels that help power Susquehanna University in south-central Pennsylvania. (Photo courtesy of Owens Farm)
Happy weekend, all.
Earlier this week, the state agency tasked with overseeing the commonwealth’s state parks and forests said that it is on track to produce or purchase all of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said on Wednesday that it expects to “use 28.7-gigawatt hours of electricity by 2030 with a plan to have the department produce 15.5-gigawatt hours and purchase 13.2-gigawatt hours — all from renewable energy sources.”
“DCNR’s commitment to sustainability is second to none and we are proud to announce this critical step to a more sustainable energy use across our department as good stewards of our natural resources,” Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “This agency is committing to a measured, strategic plan to address energy conservation, creation, and consumption for the facilities that are critical parts of operating public lands.”
The agency currently has 23 solar installation projects completed on its lands, with another 18 in design or under construction.
“With 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of forest land, and 42 million visitors a year, our department consumes a lot of energy for operations, visitor services, and to maintain infrastructure,” Deputy Secretary Mike Walsh said. “As a result, our public lands are a proving ground for innovative solutions to energy use and demonstrating the value of reducing our carbon footprint, investing in clean energy for long-term savings, and sharing our successes with the public to set an example for Pennsylvanians to consider sustainable alternatives.”
DCNR said that it reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 194 metric tons in 2021.
As always, the top five stories from this week are below.
Democrats are aware that the search of former President Donald Trump’s home by the FBI hurt the Party politically. This Aug. 17 headline from The New York Times, referencing the Inflation Reduction Act, says it all: President Takes a Bow, but Spotlight Stays on His Predecessor.
Yet, even with this knowledge, 88 percent of Democrats want Trump charged for fomenting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Slightly over half of Democrats think he will be.
Undoubtedly, Democrats are also hoping that state criminal investigations into financial improprieties and election interference will lead to prosecutions.
And now there is concrete evidence from the search of his home that Trump broke the law by possessing “top secret” documents. Since no one is above the law, surely now there must be a criminal case.
Steelers and Eagles fans rejoice! Sunday night football could soon be legal in Pennsylvania.
The state House passed a bill Monday that would repeal a nearly century-old law that makes it illegal to play football or baseball on a Sunday, except between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Violations are punishable by a $10 fine.
The bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Matthew Dowling, R-Fayette, said the legislation is part of an effort to clean up the state’s antiquated laws.
“Our Commonwealth has thousands of regulations on the books. Many of these acts were enacted several decades ago and are simply archaic and are no longer applicable in the 21st century. In addition, the existence of these outdated laws contributes to the already complex and confusing nature of government,” Dowling said in a co-sponsorship memorandum.
Not so long ago, Democrats faced long odds of retaining their majorities in Congress after the November midterm elections.
Now, Democrats are the favorites to keep control of the U.S. Senate. Furthermore, Democratic success in recent special elections, including a surprise victory in Alaska, has party leaders believing they can upset predictions of a Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Democrats have good reasons for their optimism. After the U.S Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June that ended abortion rights, voter registrations by women surged around the country. Kansas voters rejected an effort to restrict abortion protections.
A new study paints a harrowing portrait of the racial disparities among people serving life without parole, or virtual life sentences of 50 or more years, in Pennsylvania’s prisons. At 8,242 people, the state has not only the second-largest such population of incarcerated individuals in the nation, but also in the world, according to new research by the legal aid group Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity.
PLSE, which provides free legal advice and representation to low-income Philadelphians, conducted its research in conjunction with Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who chairs the state Board of Pardons. Fetterman, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 2022, has made reforming Pennsylvania’s life without parole system one of the cornerstones of his tenure.
So, this isn’t a “John Fetterman” column. And you know what we’re talking about here.
After more than two years on the statewide political stage, there’s already a well-established journalistic shorthand for Pennsylvania’s new lieutenant governor.
It’s the lather, rinse, repeat formula of “black clothes, bald head, tattoos, gosh he’s tall but skinnier, cheerleader for the struggling steel town of Braddock, Pa.” that’s launched a thousand profiles — including a recent one by NYMag.com.
And while all that’s true about Fetterman, it often feels like the media branding of Gov. Tom Wolf’s second-in-command overshadows the actual human behind it.
And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week.
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